Quacquarelli Symonds

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Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) is a British company specialising in education and study abroad.[1] The company was founded in 1990 [2] by Nunzio Quacquarelli.[3] Today, QS has over 250 employees and operates globally from offices in London (head office in Hampstead, North London); New York, Boston, and Washington, D.C., United States; Paris, France; Singapore; Stuttgart, Germany; Sydney, Australia; Shanghai, China; Johannesburg, South Africa; and Alicante, Spain. QS provides services for undergraduates, graduates, Masters, Ph.D., MBA, and Executive MBA candidates. It offers publications and events to broaden the scope of study abroad. QS runs events and produces guides for postgraduates across 35 countries.[4]


  • 1988–90: QS Quacquarelli Symonds Ltd was founded as a student initiative whilst Nunzio Quacquarelli was completing his MBA at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
  • 1990: TopMBA Career Guide and TopMBA International MBA Recruitment and Salary Research launched.
  • 1995: The first QS World MBA Tour was held in just two cities, London and Paris. Today, the tour travels to over 70 cities across five continents.[5]
  • 1996: QS TopMBA Global Recruiters Top 100 Business Schools, an alternative to business school rankings, providing a list of business schools currently preferred by the most international MBA recruiters. In 2009, the name of this report changed to "QS Global 200 Business Schools 2009: The Employers' Choice".
  • 1998: QS TopMBA.com Applicants Research - a survey into the mindset and aspirations of MBA applicants.
  • 2001
    • QS World Grad School Tour was launched; today, the tour visits over 40 cities in more than 30 countries.
    • QS acquired Global Workplace, a network for professionals and employers looking to connect with alumni from international business schools.
  • 2002: QS Career Forums - a program of recruitment and career development events
  • 2004: THE-QS World University Rankings launched in collaboration with the Times Higher Education [6]
  • 2005
    • Scorecard - an online search and personal ranking tool of business schools worldwide
    • QS APPLE - The Asia Pacific Professional Leaders in Education annual conference and exhibition for international educators in Asia, Europe, America and Australasia.
    • QS Education Trust - a non-profit trust company providing scholarships for international study to candidates each year.
  • 2005-2006: QS TopApply - a specialized CRM system was launched that integrates in with business schools' internal application and candidate management processes.
  • 2007: QS TopInternships – a community website for helping first degree and Masters students locate internships, with an initial focus on English speaking countries around the world.
  • 2008: QS Asian University Rankings launch announced in partnership with South Korea's Chosun Ilbo newspaper
  • 2009
    • TopUniversities & World of Study Tour launches in London serving high school students and young professionals looking to emigrate through an international degree or vocational qualification.
    • QS acquired German software company unisolution, a European supplier of software solutions and services for institutions of higher education in the area of internationalization.
  • 2012: QS TopMBA Career Guide was launched in the Chinese language.[7]

Major rankings[edit]

QS has published various university rankings.

At first, it had cooperated with the Times Higher Education to release annual world university rankings, the THE-QS World University Rankings, since 2004 and was the data provider of the rankings. However, it ended its partnership with Times after the release of their 2009 rankings and both have worked out their own rankings afterward with QS using the same methodology while Times which has then cooperated with Thomson Reuters using an adjusted one. Now, the rankings published by QS are known as the QS World University Rankings.

Generally, the QS World University Rankings is regarded as one of the three most influential university rankings in the world, along with the Times Higher Education World University Rankings and the Academic Ranking of World Universities.[8][9][10]


The QS Intelligence Unit is a part of QS which provides strategic information to business schools, universities, and employers going beyond the information contained in the World University Rankings. Its products include:

  • The QS Global 200 Business Schools: The Employers' Choice, a list of the business schools that attract the most international recruiters.
  • TopMBA Recruitment and Salary Report, an annual survey of MBA employers worldwide to determine trends in international salaries and recruitment.
  • TopMBA Applicants Research Report, which analyses the status, attitudes, goals and ambitions of MBA applicants annually.
  • TopGradSchool Applicants Research Report, analogous to TopMBA but concentrating on a broader range of postgraduate applicants.


QS draws on the data collected for the QS World University Rankings and other information which it gathers to offer a benchmarking services to universities, comparing them with their peers.

QS Stars[edit]

QS Stars is a system used to evaluate universities on a range of performance indicators. These include research quality, graduate employability, careers service support, teaching quality, infrastructure such as sports facilities and medical care, student societies and accommodation, IT and libraries, international appeal, innovation and knowledge transfer, and community involvement.


The advisory services provided by the QS Intelligence Unit assist universities and other higher education institutions in attempting to raise standards. The teams also provide a parallel service for government and quasi-governmental organisations that are aiming to enhance their country’s higher education standards institutionally, regionally, or nationally.

Research Partner Identification[edit]

This offering systematically finds the optimal international research partners for the universities with considerations for impact, subject excellence, and research reputation. The approach is a mix of both quantitative and qualitative analyses.


QS delivers admissions and careers service solutions for universities, business schools, alumni networks and other relevant communities that require online; outreach, enquiry management, applications and networking solutions.

QS MBA Events[edit]

QS runs a number of MBA related events, notably the World MBA Tour and TopMBA Connect 121, in major cities around the world designed to provide a meeting place for business schools and prospective MBA candidates. Schools that regularly attend these events include University of Chicago Booth School of Business, USC Marshall, NYU Stern, the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell, INSEAD, IE Business School, ESADE, London Business School, HEC Paris, the Desautels Faculty of Management at McGill University, IMD, and CEIBS.


QS Trust awards scholarships each year to six or more outstanding young professionals for their demonstration of socially responsible leadership. The QS Trust also runs a scholarship scheme in collaboration with business schools and universities around the world. In 2009, QS offered US$1,600,000 in scholarship funding to participants from around the world.